Domitian AR Denarius, 81 CE (Group 3)
Rome mint, 81 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS VII DES VIII P P; Seat, draped; above, winged thunderbolt
RIC 34 (R3). BMC -. RSC -
Ex: Harry N. Sneh Collection.
Ex: David Atherton Collection
This very rare denarius of Domitian was struck in 81 CE, Domitian's first year as Augustus. Just how rare is this coin? It is marked as R3- one example known to Carradice and Buttrey, the authors of RIC II part 1 (2007). This coin appears to be a double die match for the RIC plate coin. This is hardly surprising. It would have been surprising if this coin had different dies which would have suggested a larger mintage. This coin appears to be the second one known of its type.
It is also not surprising that this coin is a PONT denarius. Many of the rarest issues in 81 CE are PONT denarii. These coins are particularly prized by collectors because of their rarity and because they are interesting. It is surmised that the use of PONT in the obverse legend was used before Domitian officially took the title of PM or Pontifex Maximus. In fact PM is used in many of the obverse legends in the 4 groups of denarii struck for Domitian in 81 CE.
There is another reason that I am thrilled to have this coin-the provenance. This coin was part of the collection of Harry Sneh. Mr. Sneh was a well known collector who had collected many interesting Flavian coins. After his passing, the coins were distributed in auctions. Mr. Sneh had a great eye for coins and I would love to have more from his collection. In fact, when I acquired this coin it came with another PONT denarius that was also once the property of Harry Sneh.
This will take an important place in my coins of Domitian collection.